Artist builds stained-glass window for Little Chapel

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CORDOVA - The Rev. Gary Barnes and his wife, ordained minister and Ilanka Cultural Director LaRue Barnes, have spent the last 31 years ministering.

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"LaRue and I have been with the Little Chapel and their ministry in Cordova for 24 years," Barnes said.

The Little Chapel opened its new church building on Lake Avenue in January 2006 and is poised next month to add a stained-glass window created by a Japanese master.

"I feel so blessed to have such skilled artist to build this window. Indeed this window will be a perfect example of a vision becoming a masterpiece," Barnes said.

The contemporary glass artist, Kuni Kajiwara, was born in Oita, Japan. Kajiwara is world renowned and has studied many years in Europe.

Kajiwara's connection to Cordova came about from meeting Cordova's Nils Olson, who has been a missionary, along with his wife, Andrea, in Japan for many years. Nils Olson has often contributed Travel Log articles to The Cordova Times.

"Kuni Kajiwara built the stained-glass window in our church here in Japan," Olson said. "When I heard from Gary that they wanted to have a stained-glass window in the new church building, I sent him her profile information with pictures of the window she built for Munakata Bethel Christian Center, our church."

"The Little Chapel has supported Andrea and me on the mission field for the almost 30 years we've been here," Olson added.

Kuni and Toru Kajiwara, a sister-and-brother team, have been working swiftly in assembling the panels. With an open house looming Aug. 21, time is of the essence.

Antique glass from France, Italy, Germany and Japan was purchased, cut in Japan and shipped to Cordova.

Kuni hand paints the antique glass pieces and then puts them through the firing process. This window will be 5 feet by 10 feet when completed, with a solid oak frame.

"I cannot wait to see it mounted with the lights behind it," Barnes said. "It will truly be a magnificent vision."

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